2015 Ram Promaster Window Van Review
Pros & Cons
- Massive interior room
- low step-in height
- available fuel-efficient diesel engine.
- Steering wheel doesn't offer tilt adjustment.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Thanks to its sensible European roots, the 2015 Ram ProMaster Window full-size van stands as a strong choice for buyers needing to haul passengers or cargo, thanks to its space-efficient design, user-friendly interior and solid powertrain choices.
For decades, the cargo and passenger van market in the United States saw little in the way of innovation, as American automakers soldiered on with tried-and-true designs. Lately, though, increasingly cross-national U.S. auto companies have begun to adopt the best ideas from their worldwide markets. Traditional vans based on heavy pickup-truck components are being replaced by taller, narrower vans like the 2015 Ram ProMaster Window Van. Not only is the ProMaster lighter and more space-efficient than its forebears in the Chrysler lineup, it drives more like a conventional car and is noticeably more maneuverable in tight spaces.
Not surprisingly, the model for this sea change comes from Europe, where fuel is more expensive and roads are less ample. Ram's ProMaster Window Van is derived from Fiat's Ducato, a front-wheel-drive European van well known for its durability, easy driving manners and miserly running costs. Its taller profile is great for maximizing cargo or passenger space and permits users to stand much more upright. And its relatively modest weight coupled with an available diesel engine makes it distinctly more fuel-efficient than a traditional American van.
Although the ProMaster Window Van is essentially the passenger-van counterpart to the ProMaster Cargo Van (reviewed separately), Ram sells it like a cargo van with only a pair of front seats. Buyers then outfit the van (which has windows all around as its name suggests) to suit their needs, whether it's hauling passengers or ferrying equipment to job sites. A standard high roof allows those in the back to access seating or supplies while walking around fully upright. This is a fantastic development for users who spend a lot of time in the rear of the ProMaster and provides upfitters and other modifiers with a wider range of equipment possibilities. And all that height generates serious cargo-carrying potential: The ProMaster Window Van has 420 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
ProMaster buyers also benefit from the van's European origins by gaining access to an optional turbocharged diesel engine, a 3.0-liter, four-cylinder unit that belies its modest cylinder count with V8-like torque that can handle large payloads. Also available is a stout 3.6-liter gasoline V6 from Chrysler's engine lineup, which is passenger-car refined yet still up to the demands of serious commercial duty, able to handle payloads of up to 3,930 pounds.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster has plenty of European-style competition in the form of vans such as the recently released Ford Transit, as well as the Nissan NV Passenger van and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Ford's Transit offers gasoline and diesel engines, while the Mercedes Sprinter is diesel-only. The Nissan NV doesn't have a diesel option but is the only one of the four to offer a V8 engine. The 2015 Ram ProMaster Window Van benefits from Fiat's decades of experience in the commercial van market, but all of its competitors have their own unique attributes, so it's certainly a good idea to check out each to determine which might best address your particular needs.
2015 Ram Promaster Window Van models
The 2015 Ram ProMaster Window Van comes in a single 2500 trim level with a high roof that allows adults to stand erect inside the van, and a 159-inch wheelbase. (If you're looking for a wider variety of configurations, its ProMaster Cargo Van sibling can be had in a matrix of trims, wheelbases and roof heights.) Only front seats are provided, as it's expected that the van will be outfitted to the buyer's needs, whether it's hauling passengers or cargo.
Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, a passenger-side sliding side door, air-conditioning, cloth bucket seats, power front windows, power locks, keyless entry, a telescoping (but not tilt-adjustable) steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio jacks.
Available options include alloy wheels, foglights, a driver-side sliding door, windows for the side and rear doors, power folding/heated sideview mirrors, an alarm system, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a cargo partition (with or without a sliding window), navigation, heated seats, swivel seats, a suspension driver seat, adjustable lumbar support, a double passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded audio with Chrysler's Uconnect 5-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth connectivity and voice commands, steering-wheel-mounted controls, satellite radio, cruise control and interior wall paneling.
There are several option packages, including the Premium Appearance package (bright grille and foglights), the Interior Convenience package (overhead shelf, underseat storage tray and locking glovebox), the Cargo Convenience group (cargo net and sidewall tie-down rings) and a towing package.
Performance & mpg
Standard for the Ram ProMaster Window Van is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Optional is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel four with 174 hp and 295 lb-ft with a six-speed automated manual transmission. Properly equipped, the ProMaster Window Van has a payload capacity of 3,930 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 5,100 pounds.
Commercial vans such as the 2015 Ram ProMaster Window Van are not subject to conventional fuel-economy testing by the Environmental Protection Agency and do not have published fuel economy ratings.
Standard safety features for the 2015 Ram ProMaster Window Van include front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, hill start assist, stability control (with trailer sway control) and traction control. Optional features include a roadside safety kit, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
It's remarkable how much more confidence you can have in piloting even a large van when the hood is short and you sit high above it. That's the perspective from the 2015 ProMaster Window Van's driver seat, and you get further encouragement from the van's light steering and relatively compact turning circle. All these elements team up to deliver an impression of maneuverability, even in city traffic and parking, though care still has to be taken when reversing, even with the help of the optional rearview camera.
You'll like either engine. The standard 3.6-liter gasoline V6 comes straight from Chrysler's car lineup, so it's smooth, quiet and much more refined than you'd expect an engine in a commercial van to be. The turbodiesel engine's forte is efficiency and low-speed pulling power. It's noisier than the gasoline engine, particularly until it warms, but the diesel's overall refinement is entirely sufficient and it moves the ProMaster with real vigor at suburban speeds. Along with the fine manners, either engine has plenty of chops for hauling, with the diesel probably preferable for stop-and-go delivery work, even if its maximum payload ratings slightly trail those of the gasoline V6.
Functionality is the watchword for the 2015 Ram ProMaster's interior, with controls and instruments designed based on decades of Fiat's commercial-van experience. The ProMaster's gauges are large and clear, with a multifunction display centered between the speedometer and tachometer. Climate control comes via a straightforward, three-knob layout for temperature, fan speed and directional control. Audio controls are mounted high on the dash (some will have to lean forward to reach them), with the optional 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen audio system a worthwhile upgrade for those who plan to use the van for longer trips. Extended stints behind the wheel are eased by the well-bolstered captain's chairs (swivel mounts are an option), but the lack of tilt steering wheel adjustment might result in a less-than-optimal driving position. There are plenty of well-placed storage areas and cupholders.
The ProMaster Window Van can swallow up to 420 cubic feet of cargo, and although that number's not quite up to the Ford Transit's maximum of 487 cubic feet, this van nonetheless has a serious cave to fill with cargo, passengers or customized upfitter components. Rear doors with windows are standard on the ProMaster Window Van, and the windows are helpful in viewing traffic or potential obstructions to the rear. That said, the optional rearview camera and rear parking sensors are still money well spent on a vehicle this large.